Thursday, January 5, 2017

Scary start to 2017 for our IRT

By Lisa Van Cise

As I began my on-call communications shift over the New Year’s holiday weekend, I figured it would be busy. With sub-freezing temperatures and snow in the forecast, I predicted an eventful start to 2017. Unfortunately, I was right.

On Monday, Jan. 2, I received a call I still can’t stop thinking about. Craig, one of our Incident Response Team drivers was hit at freeway speed on northbound I-5 in Seattle by an RV. What was more shocking – and a huge relief – was that Craig was not seriously hurt.

Our IRT truck suffered significant damage but fortunately our worker escaped with minor injuries
when struck on the side of I-5 in Seattle while helping a disabled vehicle.

Craig was responding to a disabled Subaru just south of Seneca Street. He parked on the right shoulder and before getting out of his rig, checked the rear view mirror and saw the RV barreling toward him. He tried to get out of the way, which likely lessened the impact. Thankfully, he was buckled in when the RV struck.

The good news is Craig walked away with minor injuries. The Washington State Patrol arrested the driver of the RV on suspicion of DUI.

The driver of this vehicle – which struck our IRT truck on the side of I-5 in Seattle – was later arrested on suspicion of DUI.

While we’re glad Craig made it out of the incident OK, this brings up a bigger message that we’ll continue to make: Our road workers, including our IRT and maintenance group, have families waiting for them to come home and need your help to keep them safe. This is the second time in less than two months one of our IRT vehicles has been hit, not to mention the near-misses they experience regularly.

Please, slow down around our work crews and give them space to work. Focus on the road and make smart decisions behind the wheel. Never operate a vehicle when you’re intoxicated.

Our crews work hard to clear incidents, remove debris from the roadway and so much more. It’s a dangerous job and we are lucky to have our fleet of superheroes (59 to be exact) positioned across the state to keep you safe and traffic moving. Please help us send them home safely every day by being safe and smart on the roadways.

4 comments:

Mystery Net said...

100% on your side, WSDOT. So pleased your employee was all right.

les watson said...

Every job out there performed by WSDOT is very dangerous. As a former employee i know what it is like to be involved in a terrible accident. I think it's time to put red and blue lights on all dot vehicles. i have been traveling through several states and have noticed other dot workers vehicles equipped with these types of lights used by law enforcement.As a result i noticed that the vehicles all slowed down and moved over to give the lighted vehicle a brake.

Mark Tiedemann said...

Wow! I am glad he is alright.

Lisa Van Cise said...

Les and Mark-
Thank you for your concern. I am so glad our driver is doing well, too. I am curious about and will look into the red and blue lights on DOT vehicles.
A friendly reminder to all- it is state law to give emergency responders space and move over a lane when it is safe to do so.

~Lisa

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